Once upon a rainy afternoon in the year of 1923, a young shoemaker by the name of Albert Messmer was standing looking at a football match in his hometown of Eppendorf. While he was watching the players finding it hard to gain their ground on the heavy and muddy pitch he suddenly got a good idea – a really good idea. He went home to his workshop, worked all night and the next morning he came out very proud with his first sports product – a football boot with cleats.
Subsequently, young Albert partnered up with his brother Michael to create a company called ‘hummel’. When realizing their idea the German brothers took their inspiration from ‘hummel’ – the German word for bumblebee. A bumblebee is not supposed to be able to fly due to the way it is built hence it defies the laws of gravity. When wearing Messmer’s boots the football players were suddenly able to do nature-defying moves and tricks as well and therefore ‘hummel’ naturally suggested itself as Albert and Michael were to name their company back in 1923.
From 1923 to today. From Germany to Denmark. Here is the exciting history of Hummel.
In 1927, Messmer brothers send out their first catalogue offering everything from hiking boots to medicine balls and bathing caps.
In 1935, due to bankruptcy the Messmer brothers have to let go of their company which is taken over by their lawyer Hermann Christian Knibbe and his two business partners, Jürgensen and Tigges.
In 1945, the company suffers heavy bombing by the allies at the end of World War II. Viktoriastraße where the company is located is literally swept off the city map.
In 1946, hummel reopens in the new premises outside Hamburg. They now produce football boots, handball shoes and skates.
In 1956, Bernhard Weckenbrock from Kevelaar near the border to Holland acquires hummel and moves the production to southern Germany.
In 1969, hummel launches its first collection of sportswear. Promotional sponsorship helps sales and the company enjoys massive success. Later that year the hummel logo, the first bumblebee logo is created.
In 1972, hummel is sold in most European countries – and in Bahrain, where an Arab emir suddenly needs shoes worth 250.000 Deutschmark from one day to the other. In the world of football, hummel signs its first major sponsorship deal with Werder Bremen.
In 1974, Jørgen Vodsgaard and Max Nielsen found VN Sport ApS to market hummel products in Denmark.
In 1979, hummel signs its first sponsorship contract with the Danish Football Association.
In 1980, Jørgen Vodsgaard and his business partners become owners of hummel. The company is now 100% Danish.
In 1984, hummel’s tracksuit is selected as the tournament’s most attractive at the European Championships in 1984 when Denmark reaches the finals for the first time
In 1986, Denmark Hummel Kits are presented at a grand show which is shown live in the evening news on the sole Danish television channel, Danmarks Radio, at the time. National team players Morten Olsen, Per Frimann and Frank Arnesen are presented on stage wearing a striped playing kit that is quickly nicknamed the Carnival suit in the media. The whole charade doesn’t get any smaller when FIFA gets involved by demanding that the Danish National Team wears shorts of only one colour due to TV concerns. The demand for the jersey is huge, which is further strengthened by the fact that the national team performs above all expectations by defeating both Scotland, Uruguay and West Germany before the eternal rival Spain spearheaded by Emilio Butragueño calls it a day for the talented Danish team by crushing them 5-1 in Queretaro.
In 1987, hummel has expanded its activities in all of Europe and promotes itself through sponsorships in major European clubs. Among these Tottenham Hotspurs, Norwich, Hontved Budapest, Verona, Feyenoord and the Danish, Swedish and the Norwegian national teams.
In 1987, hummel signs a sponsorship deal with mighty Real Madrid – and with the club’s biggest star Danish nightmare, Emilio Butragueño. The deal sees the sale of hummel products hit the roof.
In 1992, The Danish national football team wins the European championship – wearing hummel. Since Denmark hasn’t qualified regularly and is admitted only 10 days before the tournament starts at the expense of former Yugoslavia heavily marked by civil war problems concerning delivery of playing kits to the team arise. In accordance with the unexpected success of the Danish national team sports stores across the country are ripped of the national team jerseys.
In 1999, hummel introduces its fashion wear based on a re-launch of old tracksuit designs from the 1970's. The clothes are an instant and huge success and helps form the retro wave that runs across the fashion world in the years to come.
In 2001, hummel’s popularity rises to new heights when international celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Paris Hilton, Robbie Williams and Jessica Simpson take a liking to and start wearing the Danish brand.
In 2002, Wearing a retro-inspired jersey, the 15th national team jersey from hummel, the Danish national football team does really well in the first three preliminary games at the World Cup in Japan and Korea. The reigning world champions from France are beaten before the England puts an end to the Danish delight in the 2nd phase of the tournament.
In 2010, Fashion footwear campaign, PlayStadil, is launched in February coinciding with the street date of the hummel Fashion Footwear spring-summer 2010 collection. Later that same year, hummel enters into an agreement with one of the biggest bands in the world, The Black Eyed Peas, and their partner RETH¿NK to support The E.N.D. World Tour 2010. This is the kick-off of hummel's big recycling campaing which will kick off at the men's handball World Cup in Sweden in January 2011.
To find out more about Hummel visit on: http://www.hummel.dk/